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Endurance FIAWEC

Audi electric hybrid cars win Le Mans 2013 and Michelin Green X Challenge

The World’s Greatest Race has been won by Audi, but thoughts are with Simonsen’s family and team.

For the second year in succession, Audi has won the Le Mans 24 Hours with a hybrid race car. Victory was clinched by an Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven for 24 hours non-stop by Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish (GB). However the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours was overshadowed by a fatal accident that occurred in the GT class shortly after the race started. Unfortunately Allan Simonsen crashed his Aston Martin and was the first fatality at Le Mans in 15 years

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Photo credit: Audi

“Obviously, this horrible incident dampens the joy about another great Le Mans victory for Audi” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “This is the first fatal accident we’ve had to witness in 15 Le Mans years. I hope it’ll remain the last.”

Rain showers crossed the track again and again during the race. They resulted in numerous incidents and the race ran for more than five hours under ‘yellow’ while the track was cleared and repairs were performed.

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Photo credit: Audi

The three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars, which are equipped with an electrically driven front axle, were the fastest vehicles in the field throughout the entire race – as well as the most efficient ones: Victory in the Michelin Green X Challenge, a competition of the cleanest, fastest and most efficient prototypes, went to Audi as well.

Driver Loïc Duval said it was “A really great moment in my career,” whilst Tom Kristensen said “I’m proud to drive for the world’s best team.’ He added ‘This Le Mans success I’m dedicating to Allan Simonsen.”

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F1 Formula 1

British F1 drivers say the British Grand Prix is “One of the very best on the calendar”

As Silverstone makes final preparations ahead of this year’s FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX, the next round of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Britain’s four F1 drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and Max Chilton – came together for a British Grand Prix photo shoot, in support of their home race.

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The British Grand Prix, taking place on 28-30 June, is the UK’s flagship motor sport event and, as one of the most well-attended Grands Prix in the world, is a highlight on the UK sporting calendar. With four British drivers lining up on the famous Silverstone start grid, support from the passionate home crowd promises to be electric, while the combination of unpredictable tyres, new upgrades on cars and five different winners in the first seven races means it is all to play for at the Home of British Motor Racing.

Lewis Hamilton, now driving for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS said, “Winning the British Grand Prix in 2008 was an incredible moment for me. Silverstone is so special for the British drivers and the weekend is made by the amazing support from our home fans. The atmosphere, the flags flying around the circuit and just seeing everyone supporting us really does lift you. I hope we can put on a good show for them and we’ll be pushing as hard as possible to give them a great weekend.”

Jenson Button of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes added “The British Grand Prix is one of the very best grands prix on the calendar – and Silverstone is absolutely unique. Firstly, it’s one of the greatest circuits in the world. Becketts, quite simply, is the greatest sequence of corners in motor sport – you cannot believe the speeds you’re able to pull through there. And Copse and Stowe are incredible too.”

Newcomer Max Chilton of Marussia Racing is about to start the first British GP of his career. “Every race so far in my debut season has been a fantastic learning experience and I’m sure the same will be true of Silverstone, but with additional support from the super-enthusiastic fans of all four British drivers. The atmosphere is amazing and there’s a sea of Union Jack flags wherever you look around the circuit. It’s my home race but also that of the Team, so we’ll be looking to do well and put on a good performance in front of the home crowd and so many of our Team Partners. I can’t wait.”

Finally Paul Di Resta, driver for Sahara Force India said, “For me it’s the biggest event we go to, especially in terms of support from the British fans, which is always amazing. You feel it as soon as you arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon because the fans are already there camping. The atmosphere is electric and I remember last year the drivers’ parade was one of the highlights of the year – it really sent a shiver through me because of the reaction we received and the fact that there wasn’t a seat left in the place.”

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Classic Extras Historic

The Mille Miglia Museum, Brescia

The original Mille Miglia car race ran from 1927 to 1957. The cars that took part in these races are celebrated in the Mille Miglia museum in Brescia, along with Italian culture and costume from the period. A ticket will set you back €7 and gives you access to a well laid out display that snakes through the old monastery of Sant’Eufemia della Fonte. That’s right, the museum is housed in a restored monastic complex, the oldest parts of which were built in 1008.

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Although the Mille Miglia is one of the oldest car races in the world, the museum has only existed since 2004. It aims to not only show the history of the race but to convey something of the changes in Italian culture and customs over the years.

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The museum starts by introducing the four men who first had the idea of ‘creating something sensational which will wake the automobile world from its slumbers.’ They were Giovanni Canestrini, Franco Mazzotti, Aymo Maggi and Renzo Castegneto. They were quick workers – they first discussed the idea in December 1926 and on 27th March 1927 the first Coppa della Mille Miglia got underway!

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Cars from local Brescian manufacturers Officine Mecchaniche (OM) came first, second and third in the first race. Ferdinando Minoia and Giuseppe Morandi won in their OM 665 Superba, averaging 48 mph for over 21 hours and finishing 15 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals. The greatest problems were not mechanical, but – like modern F1 – tyre degradation. The museum has examples of the tyres and of the quality of the roads in each decade of the race – perfect asphalt they were not.

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The first race followed a figure of eight route that circled northern Italy, crossing in Bologna. There were 18 controls in different towns along the way where teams had to get a stamp to prove they had not cut any of the course. Of the 77 starters, a remarkable 70% finished the race. The original plan had not been for the race to be repeated every year. But Mussolini is reported to have heard about the Mille Miglia and said, ‘It is to be repeated.’ So it was.

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The pathway through the museum follows the history of the race chronologically. Cars that took part in each edition of the Mille Miglia are displayed on either side of the long wings of the Monastery of Saint Eufemia. Large windows allow the cars to sparkle in the sunlight. As you progress through the museum the cars get more modern, and displays show artefacts from the period, including dresses, petrol pumps and motorbikes. There is also a section showing clips from Amacord, the Fellini film that includes shots of the Mille Milgia.

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There are stunning cars everywhere you look, and many of them sport modern Mille Milgia stickers, showing that they have been raced in recent years. The display does change as the cars are not just museum pieces. All are restored to great condition and many are used in classic car events such as the Mille Miglia.

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When I visited the museum it also had a Formula One simulator and a well-stocked book shop. I bought a DVD and the girl behind the till handed me my receipt with a breezy Grazie Mille. With all the Mille Miglia signs around I half expected her to say Grazie Mille Miglia, but she restrained herself. Outside I saw this sign and thought hang on, I don’t remember seeing that.

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Museum, yes. Book shop, yes. Office, yes. Beatles Museum? That was unexpected, like going to St Paul’s Cathedral and seeing a sign for the swimming pool. I went back in to investigate.

‘Didn’t you see it?’ said the girl.

I shook my head. I would have remembered a Beatles museum.

‘It’s at the end of the museum,’ she paused and then added, ‘Oh, now it’s shut.’

I don’t know whether it’s shut for good or if it was just shut that day. If anyone has seen the Mille Miglia Beatles Museum can you tell me what it is like? As for the main Mille Miglia museum, if you’re in Brescia and can see the beauty in vintage cars, get down to Viale della Bornata, 123 – S Eufemia. You won’t be disappointed.

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Other Porsche

Kevin Estre wins Tyre Pressure Poker! Porsche Carrera Cup, Spielberg

The damp track surface in Spielberg, Austria made for an exciting fifth round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing) once again added his name to the winners’ list at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday. Second place went to Germany’s Christian Engelhart (Konrad Motorsport) with Norbert Siedler (Aust Motorsport) from Austria scoring third. “The proper use of the tyres and optimal air pressure was my secret in such weather. I tried to preserve the tyres as long as possible so that I was still fast on the drying circuit. At the moment things are simply going really well for me,” explained Estre after clinching his fourth win from five Carrera Cup races.

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Kevin Estre wins the Spielberg round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Credit: Porsche

Due to a fluffed start, Siedler lost his hard-won pole position advantage. Estre, who had taken up the race from second on the grid, pulled past the 30-year-old Tyrolean and held tight to his lead position for the rest of the race. In the 32-strong field from eleven nations spectacular fights for positions were played out: Initially the rain-soaked track proved slippery but gradually dried up. Austrian Philipp Eng was the only driver to opt for slicks: After the start this at first threw him back to the last spot, but several laps before the chequered flag he ploughed through the field to pocket sixth place.

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Winner Kevin Estre Credit: Porsche

Races six and seven are contested from 14 to 16 June on the Lausitzring. On the 3.478 kilometre circuit in the state of Brandenburg, the drivers in their 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers can look forward to overtaking manoeuvres on the long finish straight. The twisty infield demands precision driving. Fans get a great view of the Porsche pilots with the grandstand on the finish line holding 25,000 spectators.

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Classic Extras Historic Other

Ferrari tribute to the Mille Miglia

The Ferrari Tribute to Mille Miglia is a re-enactment for Prancing Horse owners of the world’s most famous endurance road race. The drivers aboard post-1957 Ferraris paraded their cars down Brescia’s Viale Venezia to open the 2013 edition of the historic event. The competitors then continued along some of Italy’s most beautiful roads, following the traditional route to Rome and back to cross the finish-line at Brescia on the night of Saturday, May 18th.

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The Ferraris taking part came from more than twenty different nations and were divided into two separate categories: Classic for cars built between 1958 and 1984, and those built between 1984 and the present. The cars represent a marvellous compendium of Ferrari’s extraordinary production from every era and were selected by a special committee chaired by Ferrari’s Vice Chairman, Piero Ferrari.

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The Ferrari Tribute to 1000 Miglia followed exactly the same 1500km route as the main race, starting from Brescia, with regularity trial stages in Desenzano del Garda, the Autodromo di Imola, Rome, Florence and the Fiorano Circuit before finishing back at Brescia once more.

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The Ferrari Tribute to 1000 Miglia cars left a few minutes ahead of their historic counterparts. They drove through Assisi, Sienna and Florence to name but a few of the towns that provided stunning backdrops to this year’s Ferrari Tribute. The thousands of enthusiasts that thronged the route were provided with an absolutely unmissable spectacle.